Monday, August 31, 2009

Teaching Young Girls, Spiting the Taliban

An article on what it means to teach young children in the Forever War, the name given to the war in Afghanistan, popularized by reporter Dexter Filkins.

An excerpt from the article, where the protagonist is stopped by an extremist and sprayed with battery acid for, among other things, having the audacity to go to school a few miles away from the hometown of Mullah Muhammed Omar, the leader of the Taliban:

Shamsia Husseini and her sister, Atifa, were walking along the highway when they spotted the men on the motorbikes. Shamsia, then 17, was old enough to be married; she was wearing a black scarf that covered most of her face. Shamsia had seen Taliban gunmen before and figured the men on the motorcycles would pass. Then one of the bikes pulled alongside her, and the man on back jumped off. Through the mask, he asked Shamsia what seemed like a strange question.

“Are you going to school?”

The masked man pulled the scarf away from Shamsia’s face and, with his other hand, pumped the trigger on his spray gun. Shamsia felt as if her face and eyes were on fire. As she screamed, the masked man reached for Atifa, who was already running. He pulled at her and tore her scarf away and pumped the spray into her back. The men sped off toward another group of girls. Shamsia lay in the street holding her burning face.

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